British PM: London's Tech City now has over 600 firms

"Tech City", based in East London, and the UK's equivalent to Silicon Valley, has been hailed a success by the prime minister, David Cameron.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

British prime minister David Cameron has unveiled an interactive tweet map of East London's Tech City, that shows real-time tweets of over 600 technology companies in the area.

Dubbed 'Silicon Roundabout' for its proximity to the Old Street roundabout near Shoreditch, London, there was just over 200 firms in the area this time last year.

Cameron today hailed the area as a "success", adding: "As a government, we are determined to continue doing everything we can to help support and accelerate this growth".

But not everybody is happy, with some businesses acting outspokenly against the government's plans for the area.

(Source: Flickr, CC)

Some major technology companies have already invested in the area, like Google which announced recently its plans to relocate its Buckingham Palace Road office in Victoria, London to the Roundabout.

Yet, some firms like Twitter and Facebook, though base an office in London, will not be taking up an offer of a place in the Silicon Roundabout; a blow to government plans to rival the success of Silicon Valley.

But some businesses claimed they did not want the attention, according to the BBC.

While many were pleased for the meeting with the prime minister, such as Songkick's chief technology officer Dan Crow, some were more apprehensive. Mint Digital's chief creative officer Andy Bell said 'no' to Tech City, adding: "Government, leave us alone!", throwing criticism towards the big-name players:

"We don't want a culture of chasing grants and buttering up officials. We don't particularly want to encourage Facebook or Cisco to set up here -- if they do, that's fine -- but if they don't that means less competition for great talent (the key resource).

The best thing the government can do is get out of our hair and use the money to reduce their funding gap or, if they really want, throw a big party. Actually, I wouldn't trust a government party."

While there has been a slight of controversy, the UK government is attaching "Her Majesty's" status to official iPhone and Android applications. Created by Mobile Roadie, these applications are the second government-approved applications bar the official 10 Downing Street applications.

Downing Street did not comment as to why a BlackBerry version had not been developed.

Both applications are available in their platform's respective markets, the Apple App Store and the Android Market.

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